LONG BRANCH: Work continues in the city to get the boardwalk up and going again, the southern stretch. Concurrently, the Environmental Committee is looking for opportunity to bring beach protection and preservation measures back after the damages of hurricane Sandy.
It has been a long three years since Sandy. EC planners want to see beach grass, sand dunes or other measures to get beach usability up to par as the boardwalk is completed. At the Monday, Nov. 15 evening meeting members discussed the successful efforts at nearby Sea Bright borough beaches to assess if a similar approach might be used here.
While a different technical challenge, after the hurricane Sea Bright built a 6,000 foot dune and has its beach back, even as it is still an annual "work in progress". Every summer the borough has a beach recovery effort, significantly supported by volunteers from the town and neighboring towns, to get and keep the beach open and attractive to residents and visitors.
Boardwalk construction required in Long Branch is extensive, yet moving well, a little ahead of schedule. The EC is putting a plan in place, subject to the possible whims of weather and unpredictable construction snags. The EC plan must tie to the construction. Certain plan activities can take place even as detailed steps are defined later.
Members are looking at alternatives for beach improvements, in part related to construction of beach ramps and other contractor construction work. While firm dates are not yet available, the hopes are to get the beach work done ASAP.
At the meeting, there also was discussion about joint the Green Team and EC community forestry plan for city neighborhoods. The idea is to improve the environment aesthetically as well as achieve the benefits trees naturally produce. Several good ideas were gleaned at a recent Shade Tree Conference that will help to determine what tree types would be best for the city.
Residents preferences will be considered as the team looks at tree types, their ability to endure transplanting, tree health and survival as trees are brought in from a different environment (e.g., soil type, space, soil nutrition), and combining with trees already in place. Streetscapes will be included in the planning. Needed is community awareness and support.
Costs are an important item. The 2016 budget is in development.